Tag Archives: celebrities

Then what

sliding doorsWhen I read the premise of Idina Menzel’s new musical If/Then (currently in previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre), it sounded exactly like the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Sliding Doors (1998).

In Doors, Paltrow loses her job at a swanky London PR firm and rushes to catch the tube back to her apartment. The movie shows — in two parallel realities — how her future love life and career are changed depending on if she does (or doesn’t) catch the subway.

I saw the matinee of If/Then today, and it didn’t change my mind. While the choice that sends Menzel’s character on two potential paths takes place in Central Park, the two stories share more plot similarities than even I expected.

if thenBut I think If/Then could learn a thing or two from its movie doppelganger.

For one, the musical doesn’t focus on one character’s life in two parallel realities. Instead, it attempts to explore how Menzel’s friends, played by LaChaze and Anthony Rapp, also make their own unique choices.  (Now, I did love seeing Rapp back on Broadway, and his character is a bit of a Rent callback in many ways.)

But going back and forth between three story lines in two realities — and giving each character closure in both of those realities — takes time. Too much time.

Doors got ‘er dun in 99 minutes.  If/Then took over an hour more.

Today’s Playbill didn’t list the musical numbers; I’m sure that’s because the show is in previews, and some cuts may be made before the March 30th opening.  I highly recommend it.  While many numbers were amazingly heartfelt — a couple with language blissfully blue — others felt simplistic, like a rhyming dictionary set to a bouncy beat with awkward American Idiot-like choreography.

All that being said, the cast is wonderful, their voices worthy of Menzel. By opening night, I hope the show is worthy of her.

Take your hands off my lobby boy!

Reason #873 I love New York City:

The 10:00 am showing of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was two-thirds full.

budapest lobby

Perhaps because we have all been watching the trailer for this beautiful, whimsical, fanciful film in theatres for almost a year.  And every time I’d think, “This looks so much better than the movie I’m getting ready to see!”

(Many of those times people in the theatre would clap, so I think they agreed, too.)

The best news? The film lives up to the trailer.  In fact, Budapest is, in my opinion, Anderson’s best movie to date.  The world he creates has the exquisite detail you expect and an amazing array of characters both real and remarkable.

But Budapest is a bigger yarn than Anderson typically tells.  While his Europe is a fictional one, some familiar dark elements surface that give its message more import.

And I want to go on record now — the film’s title song deserves an Oscar nomination. So does Ralph Fiennes, for a pitch perfect comedic performance.

Or should I say…on the nose, Lord Voldemort?

More Craig!

Guess who’s going to be hosting another show on television this fall?

craig celebrity name game

One of Craig’s guests mentioned it on Late Late Show Monday; he confirmed it; and the Google machine had the detes.

Celebrity Name Games is based on the board game “Identity Crisis.” Contestants partner with celebrity guests to guess famous identities from clues provided.  And with Craig as host, you know there will be lots of improvised fun.

It’s syndicated, so cross your fingers that it will be showing in your market.

(Mine are braided.)

Stop and go

Now that the Oscars are behind us, we can turn our attention to movies that we’d never expect to see in contention…

But in some cases, might enjoy more.

liam non-stopThis week’s entry?

Non-Stop, starring Liam Neeson as a washed up air marshal on an international flight that is taken hostage via text message moments after take-off .

(Apparently the writers are fans of Pretty Little Liars.)

Not surprisingly, the conceit works here as well, as Liam battles blindly — every passenger and crew member a potential ally and/or enemy.  And if you’re a frequent flier like me, the scenes of airline passengers in peril — well, they’ll have you twisting in your seat a bit.

While this movie may not be Oscar bait, the script certainly drew its fair share of award-winning actors.

corey stoll non-stopWatch House of Cards on Netflix?  Why look, there’s Representative Peter Russo, who did you-know-what in Season 1 with a little help from Francis Underwood.

Wonder what is he plotting with those two gentleman?  Gonna have to see the movie and find out.

Julieanne non-stop And look who decided to sit next to Liam in business class — Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore.

She’s wearing heavy, horn-rimmed glasses and a scary-looking scar, but she’s not fooling anybody.

Or is she?
michelle non-stopAnd is that Michelle Dockery — Lady Mary from Downton Abbey — playing the part of a working class flight attendant? You know it.

Watch her serve drinks! Follow orders! Be manhandled!

lupita-nyongo- non-stopEven Lupita Nyonga, who is probably still grasping her brand-spanking new Best Supporting Actress Oscar, pops up from time to time on-screen.

This, my friends, is entertainment at its best.

No surprise

I watched the entire Oscars telecast last night, so I am sleepy today, but not because I was up late –

Because it was so BORING.

Where were the surprise winners? The endearing, incomprehensible speeches from dumbfounded winners? And no, I don’t count the garbled speech of presenters — like John Travolta and Harrison Ford — who can’t read a teleprompter.

I don’t watch awards shows to see actors deliver their lines. (That’s why I go to the movies.) I want some spontaneity. Some mistakes. Some signs of life and humanity.

Thank goodness Benedict Cumberbatch and I had some fun on the red carpet before the big snoozefest began.

benedict-cumberbatch-u2-lg

True romance

I didn’t read The Bridges of Madison County when it was published in 1992 — even though Oprah said I should — and the film of the same name three years later was too schmaltzy for my taste.

(Sorry Meryl.)

So no one is more surprised than I at how much I love — that’s love, love, LOVE — the Broadway musical adaptation that I saw today at the matinee.

bridges broadway

This is one of the most romantic shows I have ever seen performed on any stage.

Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale are simply amazing. O’Hara is a Broadway veteran; we expect her depth of character and beautiful voice.  But Pasquale, who I know from his many TV roles, matches her step for step, creating a relationship that is wonderful to watch.

And his tenor?  Fills the theatre.

The music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown are beautiful; the book by Marsha Norman a wonderful mixture of light and shade.

Did I mention I love it?  I simply cannot wait to see it again.

The Olympic domino effect

When you visit Sochi, the water in the sink looks like this.

sochi water

 

 

 

 

 

When you wash your face in that water, your eyes look like this.

bob costas ick

 

 

 

 

 

When your eyes look like this, you have to give your prime-time Olympics anchor chair to Matt Lauer.

matt-lauer-2014-winter-olympics

 

 

 

 

And when you let Matt Lauer anchor the Olympics in prime-time, babies cry.

babies crying

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t make babies cry, Bob Costas.

Stay away from shitty water.

Look at me

Shia LaBeouf, star of Transformers and Disturbia, is the latest member of Young Hollywood acting out for the cameras.

shia labeoufToday on the red carpet for the Nymphomaniac Berlin premiere, he sported a bag over his head that read, “I am not famous anymore.”

He also walked out of the press conference and appeared to have lost both weight and a tooth.

Sounds a bit Lindsay Lohan-Miley Cyrus-Justin Bieberish, doesn’t it?

LaBeouf has lots of company right now, it’s true.  But if you look back at pics from days gone by — before there were ‘red carpet moments’ –

bee bearderFolks did even more bizarre stunts to get attention.

(Those are bees.)

Of mice and women

sochi logoI arrived home from Florida tonight in time to watch the Winter Olympics Figure Skating Team Competition.

The US was sitting near the bottom in 7th place…then the ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White — the reigning Olympic silver medalists — knocked one out of the park and moved the Americans up to 3rd.

Meryl Davis looks like a china doll on the ice and sounds like Minnie Mouse.  I get a bit of a complex just listening to her speak.

Is this what a woman is supposed to sound like?

I approve

For your consideration:

The original Frankenstein’s Monster…

frankenstein
 
And I, Frankenstein, starring Aaron Eckhart, (in IMAX)…
i frankenstein

Damn — that’s one hot monster!

(Perhaps I’m just getting better at accepting change.)